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Chronicles of Border Warfare
by Alexander Scott Withers
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[6] McWhorter: "Mrs. Cunningham stated that an Indian stood over her with an uplifted tomahawk, to prevent her from crying out. At times, the whites were upon the very rock above their heads."—R. G. T.

[7] McWhorter says local tradition has it that the Indians remained in the cave a night and a day; they departed before daylight, during the second night. Mrs. Cunningham related that just before leaving, the wounded brave was borne from the cave by his fellows, and she never again saw him; her opinion was, that he was then dead, and his body was sunk in a neighboring pool.—R. G. T.

[8] Mrs. Cunningham had been over three years with the savages, when she was taken to a great Indian conference held at the foot of the Maumee rapids, "at or near the site of the present Perrysburgh, Ohio," in the autumn of 1788. Girty brought the attention of McKee, then a British Indian agent, to the matter, and McKee furnished the trinkets which constituted the ransom.—R. G. T.

[9] See McKnight's Our Western Border, pp. 714, 716.—R. G. T.

[10] Superstition was rife among the Scotch-Irish borderers. McWhorter writes: "On the day before the capture, a little bird came into Mrs. Cunningham's cabin and fluttered around the room. Ever afterwards, she grew frightened whenever a bird would enter her house. The fear that such an occurrence would bring bad luck to a household, was an old and widely-spread superstition."—R. G. T.

[11] Mary Moore afterwards became the wife of Mr. Brown, a presbyterian preacher in Augusta. Her brother James Moore, jr., still resides in Tazewell county; and notwithstanding that he witnessed the cruel murder of his mother and five brothers and sisters by the hands of the savages, he is said to have formed and still retain a strong attachment to the Indians. The anniversary of the burning of Mrs. Moore & her daughter, is kept by many in Tazewell as a day of fasting and prayer; and that tragical event gave rise to some affecting verses, generally called "Moore's Lamentation."

[12] At the treaty of Au Glaize, Morgan met with the Indian who had given him this chase, and who still had his gun. After talking over the circumstance, rather more composedly than they had acted it, they agreed to test each other's speed in a friendly race. The Indian being beaten, rubbed his hams and said, "stiff, stiff; too old, too old." "Well, said Morgan, you got the gun by outrunning me then, and I should have it now for outrunning you;" and accordingly took it.

[13] McWhorter: "Alexander West was with Col. William Lowther on this expedition. They followed the Indians to the Little Kanawha River."—R. G. T.

[14] Another case of border superstition is related to me by McWhorter. Alexander West had been doing sentry duty most of the night before, and on being relieved early in the morning, sat with his back to a tree and, rifle across his lap, fell to sleep. On awakening he sprang to his feet and cried, "Boys, look out! Some of us will be killed to-day! I saw the red doe in my dream; that is the sign of death; I never knew it to fail!" When Bonnett fell, it was considered in camp to be a verification of the "red sign." Bonnett was carried by his comrades on a rude stretcher, but in four days died. His body was placed in a cleft of rock and the entrance securely chinked.—R. G. T.



[285] CHAPTER XVII.

Upon the close of the war of the revolution, many circumstances conspired to add considerably to the population of Kentucky; and her strength and ability to cope with the savages and repel invasion, were consequently much increased. Conscious of this, and sensible of their own condition, weakened by the withdrawal of their allies, the Indians did not venture upon expeditions against its inhabitants, requiring to be conducted by the co-operation of many warriors. They preferred to wage war in small parties, against detached settlements and unprotected families; and guarding the Ohio river and the "wilderness trace,"[1] to cut off parties of emigrants removing to that country. In all of those they were eminently successful. In the interval of time, between the peace of 1783 and the defeat of General Harmar, in 1790, it is inferred from evidence laid before Congress, that in Kentucky, not less than one thousand human beings were killed and taken prisoners. And although the whites were enabled to carry the war into the heart of the Indian country, and frequently with success, yet did not this put a stop to their enormities. When pressed by the presence of a conquering army, they would sue for peace, and enter into treaties, which they scarcely observed inviolate 'till those armies were withdrawn from among them.

In April 1785, some Indians hovering about Bear Grass, met with Colonel Christian and killed him. His loss was severely felt throughout the whole country.[2]

In October of the same year, several families moving to the [286] country were attacked and defeated on Skegg's creek. Six of the whites were killed, and a number of the others made prisoners, among whom were Mrs. McClure and her infant. When the attack was begun, she secreted herself with four children in some bushes, which together with the darkness of the night, protected her from observation; and could she have overcome the feelings of a mother for her child, she might have ensured her own safety and that of her three other children by leaving her infant at some distance from them. She was aware of the danger to which its cries would expose her, and sought to prevent them by giving it the breast. For awhile it had that effect, but its shrieks at length arose and drew the savages to the spot. Three of her children were slain by her side.

On hearing of this disastrous event, Capt. Whitley collected twenty-one men from the nearer stations, and went in pursuit of the aggressors. He presently overtook them, killed two of their party, and retook the prisoners and the scalps of those whom they had slain.—So signal was his success over them.

In ten days afterwards, another company of movers, led on by Mr. Moore, was attacked, and in the skirmish which ensued, nine of their party were killed. Again Capt. Whitley went in pursuit of the savage perpetrators of this outrage, having thirty men to accompany him. On the sixth day of the pursuit, they overtook twenty mounted Indians, some of whom were clad in the clothes of those they had slain; and who dismounted and fled upon the first fire. Three of them however were killed, and eight scalps and all the plunder were recovered.

In consequence of the many repeated aggressions of the savages, an expedition was this fall concerted against their towns on the Wabash, to be carried into immediate execution. Through the exertions of the county lieutenants an army of one thousand men, was soon assembled at Louisville[3] and placed under the command of Gen. Clarke, who marched directly for the theatre of contemplated operations—leaving the provisions and much of their munitions to be transported in boats. The army arrived near the towns, before the boats;—the men became dissatisfied and mutinous, and Gen. Clarke was in consequence, reluctantly forced to return without striking a blow.[4]

[287] When the army under Gen. Clarke marched from Louisville, Col. Logan knowing that the attention of the Indians would be drawn almost exclusively towards it, & other towns be left exposed and defenceless, raised a body of troops and proceeded against the villages on the Great Miami, and on the head waters of Mad river. In this campaign he burned eight large towns, killed twenty warriors and took between seventy and eighty prisoners.[5]

Among the troops led on by Col. Logan, was the late Gen. Lyttle (since of Cincinnati) then a youth of sixteen.[6] At the head of a party of volunteers, when the first towns on the Mad river were reduced, he charged on some of the savages whom he saw endeavoring to reach a close thicket of hazel and plum bushes. Being some distance in front of his companions, when within fifty yards of the retreating enemy, he dismounted, and raising his gun to fire, saw the warrior at whom he was aiming, hold out his hand in token of surrendering. In this time the other men had come up and were making ready to fire, when young Lyttle called to them, "they have surrendered; and remember the Colonel's orders to kill none who ask for quarters." The warrior advanced towards him with his hand extended, and ordering the others to follow him. As he approached, Lyttle gave him his hand, but with difficulty restrained the men from tomahawking him. It was the head chief with his three wives and children, two or three of whom were fine looking lads, and one of them a youth of Lyttle's age. Observing the conduct of Lyttle in preventing the murder of the chief, this youth drew close to him. When they returned to the town, a crowd of men rushed around to see the chief, and Lyttle stepped out of the crowd to fasten his horse. The lad accompanied him. A young man who had been to the spring to drink, seeing Lyttle with the Indian lad, came running towards him. The youth supposed that he was advancing to kill him, and in the twinkling of an eye let fly an arrow. It passed through Curner's dress, and grazed his side; and but for the timely twitch which Lyttle gave the lad's arm, would have killed him. His other arrows were then taken away, and he sternly reprimanded.

Upon the return of Lyttle to where the chief stood, he heard Col. Logan give orders that the prisoners must not be molested, but taken to a house and placed under guard for their [288] security; and seeing Major McGary[7] riding up and knowing his disposition, he called to him saying, "Major McGary, you must not molest those prisoners" and rode off. McGary mutteringly replied, "I'll see to that;" and dismounting, entered the circle around the prisoners. He demanded of the chief, if he were at the battle of the Blue Licks. The chief probably not understanding the purport of the question, replied affirmatively. McGary instantly seized an axe from the Grenadier Squaw, standing by and sunk it into his head. Lyttle saw the descending stroke and interposed his arm to prevent it or break its force. The handle came in contact with his wrist and had well nigh broke it. Indignant at the barbarous deed, with the impetuosity of youth he drew his knife to avenge it. His arm was arrested, or the steel would have been plunged into the heart of McGary. The bloody act of this man caused deep regret, humiliation and shame to pervade the greater part of the army, and none were more affected by it, than the brave and generous Logan.—When the prisoners were conducted to the house, it was with much difficulty the Indian lad could be prevailed upon to quit the side of Lyttle.

The commencement of the year 1786 witnessed treaties of peace with all the neighboring tribes;[8] but its progress was marked by acts of general hostility. Many individual massacres were committed and in the fall, a company of movers were attacked, and twenty-one of them killed. This state of things continuing, in 1787 the secretary of war ordered detachments of troops to be stationed at [288] different points for the protection of the frontier. Still the Indians kept up such an incessant war against it, as after the adoption of the federal constitution, led the general government to interpose more effectually for the security of its inhabitants, by sending a body of troops to operate against them in their own country.

While these things were doing, a portion of the country north west of the river Ohio, began to be occupied by the whites. One million and a half acres of land in that country, having been appropriated as military land, a company, composed of officers and soldiers in the war of the revolution, was formed in Boston in March 1786 under the title of the [289] "Ohio Company," and Gen. Rufus Putnam was appointed its agent. In the spring of 1788, he with forty-seven other persons, from Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, repaired to Marietta, erected a stockade fort for security against the attacks of Indians, and effected a permanent settlement there.[9] In the autumn of the same year, twenty families, chiefly from Essex and Middlesex counties in Massachusetts, likewise moved there, and the forests of lofty timber fell before their untiring and laborious exertions. Many of those who thus took up their abodes in that, then distant country had been actively engaged in the late war, and were used, not only to face danger with firmness when it came upon them; but also to devise and practice, means to avert it. Knowing the implacable resentment of the savages to the whites generally, they were at once careful not to provoke it into action, and to prepare to ward off its effects. In consequence of this course of conduct, and their assiduity and attention to the improvement of their lands, but few massacres were committed in their neighborhoods, although the savages were waging a general war against the frontier, and carrying destruction into settlements, comparatively in the interior.

In the winter of 1786, Mr. Stites of Redstone visited New York with the view of purchasing (congress being then in session there) for settlement, a tract of country between the two Miamies. The better to insure success to his project, he cultivated the acquaintance of many members of congress and endeavored to impress upon their minds its propriety and utility. John Cleves Symmes, then a representative from New Jersey, and whose aid Stites solicited to enable him to effect the purchase, becoming impressed with the great pecuniary advantage which must result from the speculation, if the country were such as it was represented to be, determined to ascertain this fact by personal inspection. He did so; and on his return a purchase of one million of acres, lying on the Ohio and between the Great and Little Miami, was made in his name. Soon after, he sold to Matthias Denman and others, that part of his purchase which forms the present site of the city of Cincinnati; and in the fall of 1789, some families from New York, New Jersey, and Redstone, descended the Ohio river to the mouth of the Little Miami. As the Indians were now more than ordinarily troublesome, forty soldiers under Lieut. Kersey, were ordered to join them for the [290] defence of the settlement. They erected at first a single blockhouse, and soon after adding to it three others, a stockade fort was formed on a position now included within the town of Columbia.

In June 1789, Major Doughty with one hundred and forty regulars, arrived opposite the mouth of Licking, and put up four block houses on the purchase made by Denman of Symmes, and directly after, erected Fort Washington. Towards the close of the year, Gen. Harmar arrived with three hundred other regulars, and occupied the fort. Thus assured of safety, Israel Ludlow, (jointly interested with Denman and Patterson) with twenty other persons, moved and commenced building some cabins along the river and near to the fort.—During the winter Mr. Ludlow surveyed and laid out the town of Losantiville,[10] but when Gen. St. Clair came there as governor of the North Western Territory, he changed its name to Cincinnati.[11]

[290] In 1790, a settlement was made at the forks of Duck creek, twenty miles up the Muskingum at the site of the present town of Waterford; another fifteen miles farther up the river at Big Bottom, and a third at Wolf creek near the falls. These settlements were made on a tract of one hundred thousand acres, laid off into "donation" lots of one hundred acres, and gratuitously assigned to actual settlers; and at the close of the year they contained nearly five hundred men, of whom one hundred and seven had families.

Thus was the present flourishing State of Ohio begun to be occupied by the whites; and the mind cannot but be struck with astonishment in contemplating the wonderful changes which have been wrought there, in such brief space of time, by industry and enterprise. Where then stood mighty and unbroken forests, through which the savage passed on his mission of blood; or stalked the majestic buffaloe, gamboled the sportive deer, or trotted the shaggy bear, are now to [291] be seen productive farms, covered with lowing herds and bleating flocks, and teeming with all the comforts of life.—And where then stood the town of Losantiville with its three or four little cabins and their twenty inmates, is now to be seen a flourishing city with its splendid edifices, and a population of 26,513 souls. Continuing thus progressively to improve, the mind of man, "pervading and far darting" as it is, can scarcely picture the state which may be there exhibited in the lapse of a few centuries.

The formations of those establishments north west of the Ohio river, incited the savages to the commission of such and so frequent enormities that measures were taken by the general government to reduce them to quiet and render peace truly desirable to them. While preparations were making to carry those measures into operation, detachments from the regular troops at Fort Washington were stationed at Duck creek, the Big Bottom and Wolf creek, for the security of the settlers at those places; and when every thing was prepared, Gen. Harmar, at the head of three hundred and twenty regulars, moved from his head quarters at Fort Washington, to the Little Miami, where the militia detailed for the expedition, were then assembled. The object was to bring the Indians, if possible, to a general engagement; and if this could not be effected, to destroy their towns and crops on the Scioto and Miami.

On the last day of September 1790, the army then consisting of fourteen hundred and forty-three men, (of whom only three hundred and twenty were regulars) marched forward, and on the 17th of October reached the Great Miami village.[12] It was found to be entirely deserted and all the valuable buildings in flames—having been fired by the Indians. As it was apparent that the savages had but recently left there, Col. Hardin was detached with two hundred and ten men, sixty of whom were regulars to overtake them. Having marched about six miles, he was suddenly attacked by a body of Indians who were concealed in thickets on every side of an open plain. On the first onset, the militia made a most precipitate retreat, leaving the few, but brave regulars to stand the charge. The conflict was short but bloody. The regular troops, over powered by numbers, were literally cut to pieces; and only seven of them made their escape and rejoined the main army at the Great Miami town.[13]

[292] Among those who were so fortunate as to escape after the shameful flight of the militia, was Capt. Armstrong of the regulars. He reached a pond of water about two hundred yards from the field of action; and plunging himself up to the neck in it, remained there all night, a spectator of the horrid scene of a savage war dance, performed over the dead and wounded bodies of his brave soldiers. The escape of ensign Hartshorn was perhaps owing entirely to a lucky accident. As he was flying at his best speed he faltered over a log, which lay in his path, and by the side of which he concealed himself from the view of the savages.

Notwithstanding the disastrous termination of this engagement, the detachment succeeded in reducing the other towns to ashes, and in destroying their crops of corn and other provisions; and rejoining the main army under Gen. Harmar, commenced their return to Fort Washington. Anxious to wipe off in another action, the disgrace which he felt would attach to the defeat, when within eight miles of Chilicothe, Gen. Harmar halted his men, and again detached Col. Hardin and Major Wylleys, with five hundred militia and sixty regulars, to find the enemy and bring them to an engagement.

Early next morning, a small body of the enemy was discovered, and being attacked, fled in different directions.—The militia pursued them as they ran in despite of orders; and when by this means the regulars were left alone, they were attacked by the whole force of the Indians, excepting the small parties whose flight had drawn off the militia. A severe engagement ensued. The savages fought with desperation; & when the troops which had gone in pursuit of those who fled upon the first onset, returned to take part in the engagement, they threw down their guns and rushed upon the regulars tomahawk in hand. Many of them fell, but being so very far superior in numbers, the regulars were at last overpowered. Their firmness and bravery could not avail much, against so overwhelming a force; for though one of them might thrust his bayonet into the side of an Indian, two other savages were at hand to sink their tomahawks into his head. In his official account of this battle, Gen. Harmar claimed the victory; but the thinned ranks of his troops shewed that they had been severely worsted. Fifty of the regulars and one hundred of the militia were killed in the contest, and many wounded. The loss of the Indians was no doubt considerable, [293] or they would not have suffered the army to retire to Fort Washington unmolested.[14]

Instead of the security from savage hostilities, which it was expected would result from Harmar's campaign, the inhabitants of the frontier suffered from them, more than they had been made to endure since the close of the war with Great Britain. Flushed with the success which had crowned their exertions to repel the invasion which had been made into their country, and infuriated at the destruction of their crops and the conflagration of their villages, they became more active and zealous in the prosecution of hostilities.

The settlements which had been recently made in Ohio up the Muskingum, had ever after their first establishment, continued apparently on the most friendly terms with the Indians; but on the part of the savages, friendship had only been feigned, to lull the whites into a ruinous security. When this end was attained, they too were made to feel the bitterness of savage enmity. On the 2d of January 1791, a party of Indians came to the Big Bottom, and commenced an indiscriminate murder of the inhabitants; fourteen of whom were killed and five taken prisoners. The settlement at Wolf's creek escaped a similar fate, by being apprized of the destruction of Big Bottom by two men who got safely off in time of the massacre. When the Indians arrived there the next morning, finding the place prepared to receive them, they withdrew without making any serious attempt to take it.

On the 24th of April, John Bush (living on Freeman's creek,) having very early sent two of his children to drive up the cattle, became alarmed by their screams, and taking down his gun, was proceeding to learn the cause of it, when he was met at the door by an Indian, who caught hold of the gun, forced it from his grasp, and shot him with it. Bush fell across the threshold, and the savage drew his knife to scalp him. Mrs. Bush ran to the assistance of her husband, and with an axe, aimed a blow at the Indian with such force that it fastened itself in his shoulder, and when he jumped back his exertion pulled the handle from her hand. She then drew her husband into the house and secured the door.

In this time other of the savages had come up, and after endeavoring in vain to force open the door, they commenced shooting through it. Fortunately Mrs. Bush remained unhurt, although eleven bullets passed through her frock and some of [294] them just grazing the skin. One of the savages observing an aperture between the logs, thrust the muzzle of his gun thro' it. With another axe Mrs. Bush struck on the barrel so as to make it ring, and, the savage on drawing it back, exclaimed "Dern you." Still they were endeavoring to force an entrance into the house, until they heard what they believed to be a party of whites coming to its relief. It was Adam Bush, who living close by and hearing the screams of the children and the firing of the gun, had set off to learn what had given rise to them, and taking with him his dogs, the noise made by them in crossing the creek alarmed the savages, and caused them to retreat, taking off the two children as prisoners. A company of men were soon collected and went in pursuit of the Indians; but were unable to surprise them and regain the prisoners. They however, came so nearly upon them, on the Little Kenhawa,[15] that they were forced to fly precipitately, leaving the plunder and seven horses which they had taken from the settlement: these were retaken and brought back.

In May, as John McIntire and his wife were returning from a visit, they passed through the yard of Uriah Ashcraft; and in a small space of time after, Mr. Ashcraft, startled by the sudden growling and springing up of one of his dogs, stepped quickly to the door to see what had aroused him. He had hardly reached the door, when he espied an Indian on the outside with his gun presented. Closing and making fast the door, he ascended the stairs that he might the better fire upon the unwelcome intruder; and after snapping three several times, and having discovered that there were other Indians in the yard, he raised a loud shout to apprize those who were within the sound of his voice, that he was surrounded by danger. Upon this the Indians moved off; and three brothers of McIntire coming to his relief, they all pursued the trail of the savages. About a mile from Ashcraft's, they found the body of John McIntire, tomahawked, scalped, and stripped; and concluding that Mrs. McIntire, was taken prisoner, they sent intelligence to Clarksburg of what had happened, and requested assistance to follow the Indians and recover the prisoner from captivity. The desired assistance was immediately afforded; and a company of men, led on by Col. John Haymond and Col. George Jackson, went in pursuit. On Middle Island creek,[16] before they were aware of their proximity to the savages, they were fired upon by them, and [295] two of the party very narrowly escaped being shot.—A ball passed through the hankerchief on the head of Col. Haymond, and another through the sleeve of Col. Jackson's shirt. The fire was promptly returned, and the men rushed forward. The Indians however, made good their retreat, though not without having experienced some injury; as was discovered by the blood, and the throwing down some of the plunder which they had taken. It was here first ascertained that Mrs. McIntire had been killed,—her scalp being among the things left—and on the return of the party, her body was found some small distance from where that of her husband had been previously discovered.

Towards the last of June, another party of Indians invaded the settlement on Dunkard creek, in the county of Monongalia. Early in the morning, as Mr. Clegg, Mr. Handsucker, and two of Handsucker's sons were engaged at work in a cornfield near the house, they were shot at by some concealed savages, and Handsucker was wounded and soon overtaken. Clegg and Handsucker's sons ran towards the house, and the former entering it, defended it for a while; but confident that he would soon be driven out by fire, he surrendered on condition that they would spare his life and that of his little daughter with him. The boys passed the house, but were taken by some of the savages who were also concealed in the direction which they ran, and who had just made captive Mrs. Handsucker and her infant. They then plundered and set fire to the house, caught the horses and made off with the prisoners, leaving one of their company, as usual, to watch after their retreat.

When the firing was first heard, Mrs. Clegg being some distance from the house, concealed herself in the creek, under some projecting bushes, until every thing became quiet. She then crept out, but perceiving the Indian who had remained near the burning house, she took to flight; and he having at the same time discovered her, ran in pursuit. She was so far in advance, and ran so well, that the savage, despairing of overtaking her, raised his gun and fired as she ran. The ball just grazed the top of her shoulder, but not impeding her flight, she got safely off. Mr. Handsucker, his wife and child, were murdered on the dividing ridge between Dunkard and Fish creeks.[17] Mr. Clegg after some time got back, and upon the close of the Indian war, ransomed his two daughters.

[296] In the month of September Nicholas Carpenter set off to Marietta with a drove of cattle to sell to those who had established themselves there; and when within some miles from the Ohio river, encamped for the night.[18] In the morning early, and while he and the drovers were yet dressing, they were alarmed by a discharge of guns, which killed one and wounded another of his party. The others endeavored to save themselves by flight; but Carpenter being a cripple (because of a wound received some years before) did not run far, when finding himself becoming faint, he entered a pond of water where he fondly hoped he should escape observation. But no! both he and a son who had likewise sought security there, were discovered, tomahawked and scalped. George Legget, one of the drovers, was never after heard of; but Jesse Hughes succeeded in getting off though under disadvantageous circumstances. He wore long leggins, and when the firing commenced at the camp, they were fastened at top to his belt, but hanging loose below. Although an active runner, yet he found that the pursuers were gaining and must ultimately overtake him if he did not rid himself of this incumbrance. For this purpose he halted somewhat and stepping on the lower part of his leggins, broke the strings which tied them to his belt; but before he accomplished this, one of the savages approached and hurled a tomahawk at him. It merely grazed his head, and he then again took to flight and soon got off.

It was afterwards ascertained that the Indians by whom this mischief was effected, had crossed the Ohio river near the mouth of Little Kenhawa, where they took a negro belonging to Captain James Neal, and continued on towards the settlements on West Fork, until they came upon the trail made by Carpenter's cattle. Supposing that they belonged to families moving, they followed on until they came upon the drovers; and tying the negro to a sapling made an attack on them. The negro availed himself of their employment elsewhere, and loosing the bands which fastened him, returned to his master.

After the defeat of General Harmer, the terrors and the annoyance proceeding from Indian hostilities, still continued to harrass Kentucky, and to spread destruction over its unprotected portions. Seeing that the expeditions of the savages were yet conducted on a small scale, the better to effect their purposes, the inhabitants had recourse to other measures [297] of defence; and established many posts on the frontier, garrisoned by a few men, to watch the motions of the enemy, and intercept them in their progress, or spread the alarm of their approach. It was productive of but little benefit, and all were convinced, that successful offensive war could alone give security from Indian aggression. Convinced of this, preparations were made by the General Government for another campaign to be carried on against them; the objects of which were the destruction of the Indian villages between the Miamies; the expulsion of their inhabitants from the country, and the establishment of a chain of forts to prevent their return, until a general peace should give promise of a cessation of hostilities on their part. Means, deemed adequate to the accomplishment of those objects, were placed by Congress at the disposal of the executive, and of the army destined to effect them, he directed General Arthur St. Clair to take the command.[19]

It was some time before the troops detailed for this campaign, could be assembled at Fort Washington; but as soon as they rendezvoused there, the line of march was taken up.[20] Proceeding immediately for the principal establishments of the Indians on the Miami, General St. Clair had erected the Forts Hamilton and Jefferson,[21] and placing sufficient garrisons in each, continued his march. The opening of a road for the passage of the troops and artillery, necessarily consumed much time; and while it was in progress, small parties of the enemy were often seen hovering near, and some unimportant skirmishes took place; and as the army approached the Indian villages, sixty of the militia deserted in a body. To prevent the evil influence of this example, General St. Clair despatched Major Hamtrack at the head of a regiment, to overtake and bring them back; and the rest of the army moved forward.

On the night of the third of November, General St. Clair encamped near the Great Miami village, and notwithstanding the reduced state of the forces under his command, (by reason of the detachment of so large a body in pursuit of the deserters,) he proposed to march in the morning directly to its attack.[22] Having understood that the Indians were collected in great force, and apprehensive of a night attack, his men were drawn up in a square, and kept under arms until the return of day, when they were dismissed from parade for [298] the purpose of refreshment. Directly after, and about half an hour before sun rise, an attack was begun by the Indians on the rear line, and the militia there immediately gave way, and retreated,—rushing through a battalion of regulars, to the very centre of the camp. The confusion was great. Thrown into disorder by the tumultuous flight of the militia, the utmost exertion of the officers could not entirely compose the regulars, so as to render them as effective as they would otherwise have been.

After the first fire, the Indians rushed forward, tomahawk in hand, until they were checked by the well directed aim of the front line; which being almost simultaneously attacked by another body of the enemy, had to direct their attention to their own assailants, and the action became general. The weight of the enemy being brought to bear on the centre of each line where the artillery had been placed, the men were driven with great slaughter from the guns and these rendered useless by the killing of the matrosses. The enemy taking advantage of this state of things, pushed forward upon the lines, and confusion began to spread itself in every quarter. A charge was ordered, and Lieutenant Colonel Drake succeeded in driving back the Indians three or four hundred yards at the point of the bayonet; but rallying, they returned to the attack, and the troops in turn gave way. At this moment the camp was entered by the left flank: and, another charge was directed. This was made by Butler and Clark's battalions with great effect, and repeated several times with success; but in each of these charges, many being killed, and particularly the officers, it was impossible longer to sustain the conflict, and a retreat was directed.

To enable the troops to effect this they were again formed into line, as well as could be under such circumstances, and another charge was made, as if to turn the right flank of the enemy, but in reality to gain the road. This object was effected; and a precipitate flight commenced which continued until they reached Fort Jefferson, a distance of thirty miles, the men throwing away their guns and accoutrements as they ran.

Great was the havoc done by the Indians in this engagement. Of the twelve hundred men engaged under General St. Clair, nearly six hundred were left dead on the field, and many were wounded. Every officer of the second regiment [299] was killed in the various charges made by it to retrieve the day, except three, and one of these was shot through the body. Major General Butler having been wounded, and carried to a convenient place to have his wounds dressed, an Indian desperately adventurous, broke through the guard in attendance, rushed up, tomahawked and scalped him, before his own life paid the forfeit of his rashness. General St. Clair had many narrow escapes.[23] Early in the action, a number of savages surrounded his tent and seemed resolved on entering it and sacrificing him. They were with difficulty restrained by some regular soldiers at the point of the bayonet. During the engagement eight balls passed through his clothes, and while the troops were retreating, having had his own horse killed, and being mounted on a sorry beast, "which could not be pricked out of a walk," he had to make his way to Fort Jefferson as he could, considerably in the rear of the men. During the action Adjutant Bulgess received a severe wound, but yet continued to fight with distinguished gallantry. Presently a second shot took effect and he fell. A woman who was particularly attached to him had accompanied him in the campaign, raised him up, and while supporting him in her arms, received a ball in the breast which killed her instantly.

The Chicasaws were then in amity with the whites, and some of their warriors were to have cooperated with Gen. St. Clair, but did not arrive in time. There was however one of that nation in the engagement, and he killed and scalped eleven of the enemy with his own hands, and while engaged with the twelfth was himself killed, to the regret of those who witnessed his deeds of daring and of courage.

According to the statement of the Indians, they killed six hundred and twenty of the American troops, and took seven pieces of cannon, two hundred head of oxen, many horses, but no prisoners.[24] They gave their own loss in killed at only sixty-five; but it was no doubt much greater. Their force consisted of four thousand warriors, and was led on by a Missasago chief who had served with the British in the late war; and who planned and conducted the attack contrary to the opinion of a majority of the chiefs, who yet, having such confidence in his skill and judgment, yielded their individual plans and gave to him the entire control of their movements. He is reported to have caused the savages to forbear the pursuit of the retreating troops; telling them that they had killed enough, and it was time to enjoy the booty they had gained with the victory. He was then about forty-five years of age, six feet in height, and of a [300] sour, morose countenance. His dress was Indian leggins and moccasons, a blue petticoat coming half way down his thighs, and European waistcoat and surtout. His head was bound with an Indian cap, reaching midway his back, and adorned with upwards of two hundred silver ornaments. In each ear he had two ear rings, the upper part of each of which was formed of three silver meddles of the size of a dollar; the lower part consisted of quarters of dollars, and more than a foot in length; one from each ear hanging down his breast,—the others over his back. In his nose he wore ornaments of silver curiously wrought and painted.

Two days after the action the warriors from the Chicasaw nation arrived at Fort Jefferson, under the command of Piomingo, or the "Mountain Leader." On their march they heard of the fatal battle, and saw one of the enemy; who mistaking Piomingo's party for some of his own comrades, made up to them. He discovered the mistake when it was too late to rectify it. Piomingo accosted him in harsh tones, saying—"Rascal, you have been killing the whites," and immediately ordered two of his warriors to expand his arms, and a third to shoot him. This was done and his scalp taken.

After the disastrous termination of this campaign,[25] the inhabitants of Kentucky were as much as, or perhaps more than ever, exposed to savage enmity and those incursions which mark the bitterness of Indian resentment. Soon after the retreat of the army under Gen. Sinclair, a party of them came upon Salt river, where two men and some boys were fishing; and falling suddenly upon them killed the men and made prisoners of the boys. They then liberated one of the boys, and giving him a tomahawk, directed him to go home; shew it to his friends; inform them what had been the fate of his companions, and what they were to expect for their own. The threat was fearfully executed. Many families were entirely cut off and many individuals sacrificed to their fury. Companies of Indians were constantly traversing the country in secret, and committing depredations, wherever they supposed it could be done with impunity. A remarkable instance of their failure and suffering in attempting to form an entrance into a house where was an almost unprotected family, deserves to be particularly mentioned.

On the 24th of December 1791, a party of savages attacked the house of John Merril, in Nelson county. Mr. Merril, alarmed by the barking of the dogs, hastened to the door to learn the cause.—On opening it, he was fired at by two Indians and his leg and arm were both broken. The savages then ran forward to enter the house, but before they could do this, the door was closed and secured by Mrs. Merril and her daughter. After a fruitless attempt to force it open, they commenced hewing off a part of it with their tomahawks, and when a passage was thus opened, one of them attempted to enter through it. The heroic Mrs. Merril, in the midst of her screaming and affrighted children, and her groaning suffering husband, seized an axe, gave the ruffian a fatal blow, and [301] instantly drew him into the house. Supposing that their end was now nearly attained, the others pressed forward to gain admittance through the same aperture. Four of them were in like manner despatched by Mrs. Merril, before their comrades were aware that any opposition was making in the house. Discovering their mistake the survivors retired for awhile, and returning, two of them endeavored to gain admittance by climbing to the top of the house, and descending in the chimney, while the third was to exert himself at the door. Satisfied from the noise on the top of the house, of the object of the Indians, Mr. Merril directed his little son to rip open a bed and cast its contents on the fire. This produced the desired effect.—The smoke and heat occasioned by the burning of the feathers brought the two Indians down, rather unpleasantly; and Mr. Merril somewhat recovered, exerted every faculty, and with a billet of wood soon despatched those half smothered devils. Mrs. Merril was all this while busily engaged in defending the door against the efforts of the only remaining savage, whom she at length wounded so severely with the axe, that he was glad to get off alive.

A prisoner, who escaped from the Indians soon after the happening of this transaction, reported that the wounded savage was the only one, of a party of eight, who returned to their towns; that on being asked by some one, "what news,"—he replied, "bad news for poor Indian, me lose a son, me lose a brother,—the squaws have taken the breech clout, and fight worse than the Long Knives."

The frequent commission of the most enormous outrages, led to an expedition against the Indians, carried on by the inhabitants of Kentucky alone. An army of one thousand mounted volunteers was raised, and the command of it being given to Gen. Scott, he marched immediately for their towns.[26] When near them, he sent out two spies to learn the state of the enemy; who reported that they had seen a large body of Indians, not far from the fatal spot where St. Clair's bloody battle had been fought, enjoying themselves with the plunder there taken, riding the oxen, and acting in every respect as if drunk. Gen. Scott immediately gave orders to move forward briskly; and arranging his men into three divisions, soon came upon and attacked the savages. The contest was short but decisive.—Two hundred of the enemy were killed on the spot, the cannon and such of the other stores as were in their possession, retaken, and the savage forces completely routed. The loss of the Kentuckians was inconsiderable,—only six men were killed and but few wounded.

Gen. Scott on his return, gave an affecting account of the appearance of the field, where Gen. St. Clair had been encountered by the savages. "The plain," said he, "had a very melancholy appearance. In the space of three hundred and fifty yards, lay three hundred skull bones, which were buried by my men while on the ground; from thence for miles on, and the road was strewed with skeletons, muskets, &c." A striking picture of the desolation wrought there on the bloody fourth of November.

——- [1] The "Wilderness Road" (or "trace") was the overland highway through Cumberland Gap. It was sometimes called "Boone's trace." From North Carolina and Southern Virginia, it was the nearest road to Kentucky; to those living farther north, the Ohio was the favorite highway. While the river was an easier path, it was more dangerous on account of Indians: but travelers of the early period who had come down the Ohio, preferred returning east by the Wilderness Road to poling up stream. See Thomas Speed's Wilderness Road, in the Filson Club publications (Louisville, 1886.)—R. G. T.

[2] Col. William Christian, who served in Lord Dunmore's War. He was killed in April, 1786. John May, writing to Governor Henry from Crab Orchard, Ky., April 19, says: "The Indians about the Wabash had frequently been on Bear Grass, and Col. Christian, in order to induce others to go in pursuit of them, has upon every occasion gone himself. And last week he with about twenty men crossed the Ohio, and overtook three Indians, whom they killed; but his men not obeying his orders, which were to rush altogether on them, he with three others only overtook the Indians, and was so unfortunate as to receive a mortal wound himself and Capt. Isaac Kellar received another."—R. G. T.

[3] The time for rendezvous was September 10, 1786 (letter of Col. Levi Todd to Governor Henry, August 29).—R. G. T.

[4] Clark was roundly scored in contemporary accounts, for being much of the time under the influence of liquor. His futile expedition was against the Indians around Vincennes, while Logan's party, which appears practically to have revolted from Clark, had a successful campaign against the towns on Mad River. See Green's Spanish Conspiracy, ch. v., and Roosevelt's Winning of the West, iii., passim.—R. G. T.

[5] Col. Benjamin Logan to Governor Randolph, Dec. 17, 1786: "Sept. 14, 1786, I received orders [from Clark] to collect a sufficient number of men in the District of Kentucky to march against the Shawnee's Towns. Agreeable to said orders I collected 790 men, and on the 6th of October I attacked the above mentioned Towns, killed ten of the chiefs of that nation, captured thirty-two prisoners, burnt upwards of two hundred dwelling houses and supposed to have burnt fifteen thousand bushels of corn, took some horses and cattle, killed a number of hogs, and took near one thousand pounds value of Indian furniture, and the quantity of furniture we burnt I can not account for." The force was on duty "not above twenty-seven days ... and I would venture to say the expenses will be found to be very moderate."—R. G. T.

[6] William Lytle, born in Carlisle, Pa., September 1, 1770. He came to Ohio with his father, at the age of ten, and subsequently became surveyor-general of the Northwest Territory. His father served as a captain in the French and Indian War, and as a colonel in the Revolution, and headed a large colony to Ohio in 1780.—R. G. T.

[7] This name is sometimes written Magery. It is the same individual who caused the disaster at the Blue Licks in August 1782.

[8] The treaty with the Shawnees was negotiated January 30, 1786, at Fort Finney, near the mouth of the Great Miami, by George Rogers Clark, Richard Butler, and Samuel H. Parsons, commissioners. The treaty with the Wyandots, Delawares, Chippewas, and Ottawas was negotiated at Fort McIntosh, January 21, 1785, by Clark, Butler, and Arthur Lee. These treaties were of little avail, so long as British agents like McKee, Elliott, and Simon Girty lived among the Indians and kept them in a constant ferment against the Americans.—R. G. T.

[9] The several states which, under their colonial charters had claims to territory beyond the Ohio River,—Virginia, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts,—had (1781-84) relinquished their several claims to the newly-formed United States, and the Ordinance of 1787 had provided for this Northwest Territory an enlightened form of government which was to be the model of the constitutions of the five states into which it was ultimately to be divided. There was formed in Boston, in March, 1786, the Ohio Company of Associates, and October 17, 1787, it purchased from Congress a million and a half acres in the new territory, about the mouth of the Muskingum. Many of the shareholders were Revolutionary soldiers, and great care was taken to select only good men as colonists—oftentimes these were the best and most prosperous men of their several localities. Gen. Rufus Putnam, a cousin of Israel, and a near friend of Washington, was chosen as superintendent of the pioneers. Two parties—one rendezvousing at Danvers, Mass., and the other at Hartford, Conn.—arrived after a difficult passage through the mountains at Simrall's Ferry (now West Newton), on the Youghiogheny, the middle of February, 1788. A company of boat-builders and other mechanics had preceded them a month, yet it was still six weeks more before the little flotilla could leave: "The Union Gally of 45 tons burden; the Adelphia ferry boat, 3 tons; & three log canoes of different sizes. No. of pioneers, 48." The winter had been one of the severest known on the Upper Ohio, and the spring was cold, wet, and backward; so that amid many hardships it was the seventh of April before they arrived at the Muskingum and founded Marietta, named for the unfortunate Marie Antoinette, for the love of France was still strong in the breasts of Revolutionary veterans.—R. G. T.

[10] Perhaps there never was a more strange compound derivative term than this. Being situated opposite to the mouth of Licking, the name was made expressive of its locality, by uniting the Latin word os, (the mouth) with the Greek, anti (opposite) and the French, ville, (a town,) and prefixing to this union from such different sources, the initial (L) of the river. The author of this word, must have been good at invention, and in these days of town making could find ample employment for his talent.

[11] In 1788, John Cleves Symmes—uncle of he of "Symmes's Hole"—the first United States judge of the Northwest Territory, purchased from congress a million acres of land on the Ohio, lying between the two Miami Rivers. Matthias Denman bought from him a square mile at the eastern end of the grant, "on a most delightful high bank" opposite the Licking, and—on a cash valuation for the land of two hundred dollars—took in with him as partners Robert Patterson and John Filson. Filson was a schoolmaster, had written the first history of Kentucky, and seems to have enjoyed much local distinction. To him was entrusted the task of inventing a name for the settlement which the partners proposed to plant here. The outcome was "Losantiville," a pedagogical hash of Greek, Latin, and French: L, for Licking; os, Greek for mouth; anti, Latin for opposite; ville, French for city—Licking-opposite-City, or City-opposite-Licking, whichever is preferred. This was in August; the Fates work quickly, for in October poor Filson was scalped by the Indians in the neighborhood of the Big Miami, before a settler had yet been enticed to Losantiville. But the survivors knew how to "boom" a town; lots were given away by lottery to intending actual settlers, who moved thither late in December or early in January, and in a few months Judge Symmes was able to write that "it populates considerably."

A few weeks previous to the planting of Losantiville, a party of men from Redstone had settled at the mouth of the Little Miami, about where the suburb of California now is; and a few weeks later, a third colony was started by Symmes himself at North Bend, near the Big Miami, at the western extremity of his grant, and this the judge wished to make the capital of the new Northwest Territory. At first it was a race between these three colonies. A few miles below North Bend, Fort Finney had been built in 1785-86, hence the Bend had at first the start; but a high flood dampened its prospects, the troops were withdrawn from this neighborhood to Louisville, and in the winter of 1789-90 Fort Washington was built at Losantiville by General Harmar. The neighborhood of the new fortress became in the ensuing Indian war the center of the district. To Losantiville, with its fort, came Arthur St. Clair, the new governor of the Northwest Territory (January, 1790), and making his headquarters here, laid violent hands on Filson's invention, at once changing the name to Cincinnati, in honor of the Society of the Cincinnati, of which the new official was a prominent member—"so that," Judge Symmes sorrowfully writes, "Losantiville will become extinct." It was a winter of suffering for the Western Cincinnati. The troops were in danger of starvation, and three professional hunters were contracted with to supply them with game, till corn could come in from Columbia and other older settlements on the river.—R. G. T.

[12] Col. Josiah Harmar's militia were from Virginia, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. He left Fort Washington (Cincinnati), October 3. At this time the Miami Indians had seven villages in the neighborhood of the junction of St. Joseph and St. Mary's, which streams unite to form the Maumee. The village which lay in the forks of the St. Joseph and the Maumee, was the principal; one in the forks of the St. Mary's and the Maumee, which was called Kekionga, had 30 houses; at Chillicothe, on the north bank of the Maumee, were 58 houses, and opposite these 18 houses. The Delawares had two villages on the St. Mary's, 45 houses in all, and a town on the St. Joseph of 36 houses.—R. G. T.

[13] A third expedition, under Maj. J. F. Hamtramck, went against the Wabash Indians, successfully destroyed several deserted villages, and reached Vincennes without loss.—R. G. T.

[14] In his report to the Secretary of War, October 29, 1790, Governor St. Clair said: "I have the pleasure to inform you of the entire success of Gen. Harmar at the Indian towns on the Miami and St. Joseph Rivers, of which he has destroyed five in number, and a very great quantity of corn and other vegetable provisions. It is supposed that about two hundred of the Indians have likewise fallen in the different encounters that have happened between them and the detachment, for there has been no general action; but it has not been without considerable loss on our part.... Of the Federal troops, Major Wyllys and Lieutenant Frothingham and seventy-seven men; of the militia, Major Fontaine, Captain McMurtry, and Captain Scott, a son of General Scott, and seventy-three men, are among the slain."—R. G. T.

[15] Thirteen miles below Marietta.—R. G. T.

[16] Eighteen miles above Marietta, and one above St. Mary's, W. Va.—R. G. T.

[17] Dunkard Creek flows eastward into the Monongahela. Fish Creek flows southwestward into the Ohio, emptying 113 miles below Pittsburg, and 58 above Marietta. A famous Indian war-trail ran up Fish and down Dunkard—a short-cut from Ohio to the western borders of Pennsylvania and Virginia.—R. G. T.

[18] Soon after the establishment of Marietta, a rude wagon road was opened through the forest between that colony and Redstone (Brownsville, Pa.) This was the road Carpenter was following.—R. G. T.

[19] With Gen. Richard Butler, who was killed in the final battle, second in command.—R. G. T.

[20] Early in September, 1791. St. Clair had 2,000 men, fifty per cent less than had been promised him by the war department.—R. G. T.

[21] Fort Hamilton, a stockade with four bastions, was on the Big Miami, 24 miles from Fort Washington (Cincinnati), on the site of the present Hamilton, O. Fort Jefferson, built of logs laid horizontally, was six miles south of the present Greenville, O. The army left Fort Jefferson, October 24.—R. G. T.

[22] The army then numbered 1,400 men, and was encamped at the site of the present Fort Recovery, O., 55 miles away, as the crow flies, from the head of the Maumee, the objective point of the expedition.—R. G. T.

[23] He lay sick in his tent, when the action opened, but arose and acted with remarkable courage throughout the fight. General Butler was acting commandant while St. Clair was ill, and was credibly informed by his scouts, the night before the battle, of the proximity of the enemy. But he took no precautions against surprise, neither did he communicate his news to his superior. Upon Butler's head appears to rest much of the blame for the disaster.—R. G. T.

[24] The Americans lost 37 officers and 593 men, killed and missing, and 31 officers and 252 men, wounded. See St. Clair Papers, edited by William Henry Smith (Cincinnati: Robert Clarke & Co., 1882), for official details of the disaster. For Simon Girty's part, consult Butterfield's History of the Girtys, passim.—R. G. T.

[25] St. Clair arrived at Fort Washington, on his return, November 8—R. G. T.

[26] This expedition under Gen. Charles Scott, one of the Kentucky committee of safety, was made in June, 1791, against the Miami and Wabash Indians. It was followed in August by a second expedition under Gen. James Wilkinson. In the course of the second campaign, at the head of 500 Kentuckians, Wilkinson laid waste the Miami village of L'Anguille, killing and capturing 42 of the savages.—R. G. T.



[302] CHAPTER XVIII.

Neither the signal success of the expedition under General Scott, nor the preparations which were being made by the general government, for the more rigorous prosecution of the war against them, caused the Indians to relax their exertions to harrass the frontier inhabitants. The ease with which they had overcome the two armies sent against them under Harmar and St. Clair, inspired them with contempt for our troops, and induced a belief of their own invincibility, if practising the vigilance necessary to guard against a surprise. To the want of this vigilance, they ascribed the success of Gen. Scott; and deeming it necessary only to exercise greater precaution to avoid similar results, they guarded more diligently the passes into their country, while discursive parties of their warriors would perpetrate their accustomed acts of aggression upon the persons and property of the whites.

About the middle of May, 1792, a party of savages came upon a branch of Hacker's creek, and approaching late in the evening a field recently cleared by John Waggoner, found him seated on a log, resting himself after the labors of the day. In this company of Indians was the since justly celebrated General Tecumseh, who leaving his companions to make sure of those in the house, placed his gun on the fence and fired deliberately at Waggoner. The leaden messenger of death failed of its errand, and passing through the sleeve of his shirt, left Waggoner uninjured, to try his speed with the Indian. Taking a direction opposite the house, to avoid coming in contact with the savages there, he outstripped his pursuer, and got safely off.

[303] In the mean time, those who had been left to operate against those of the family who were at the house, finding a small boy in the yard, killed and scalped him; and proceeding on, made prisoners of Mrs. Waggoner and her six children, and departed immediately with them, lest the escape of her husband, should lead to their instant pursuit. They were disappointed in this expectation. A company of men was soon collected, who repaired to the then desolate mansion, and from thence followed on the trail of the savages. About a mile from the house, one of the children was found where its brains had been beaten out with a club, and the scalp torn from its head. A small distance farther, lay Mrs. Waggoner and two others of her children,—their lifeless bodies mangled in the most barbarous and shocking manner. Having thus freed themselves from the principal impediments to a rapid retreat, the savages hastened on; and the pursuit was unavailing. They reached their towns with the remaining prisoners—two girls and a boy—and avoided chastisement for the outrage. The elder of the two girls did not long remain with them; but escaping to the neighborhood of Detroit with another female prisoner, continued there until after the treaty of 1795. Her sister abided with her captors 'till the close of the war; and the boy until during the war of 1812. He was then seen among some friendly Indians, and bearing a strong resemblance in features to his father, was recognized as Waggoner's captive son. He had married a squaw, by whom he had several children, was attached to his manner of life, and for a time resisted every importunity, to withdraw himself from among them. When his father visited him, it was with difficulty he was enticed to return to the haunts of his childhood, and the associates of his younger days, even on a temporary visit. When however he did return to them, the attention and kindly conduct of his friends, prevailed with him to remain, until he married and took up his permanent abode amid the habitations of civilized men. Still with the feelings natural to a father, his heart yearns towards his children in the forest; and at times he seems to lament that he ever forsook them.[1]

In the summer of this year, a parcel of horses were taken from the West Fork, and the Indians who had stolen them, being discovered as they were retiring, they were pursued by Captain Coburn, who was stationed at the mouth of Little [304] Kenhawa with a party of men as scouts. Following them across the Ohio river, he overtook them some distance in the Indian country, and retaking the horses, returned to his station. Hitherto property recovered from the savages, had been invariably restored to those from whom it had been stolen; but on the present occasion a different course was pursued. Contending that they received compensation for services rendered by them in Virginia, and were not bound to treat without its limits in pursuit of the savages or to retake the property of which they had divested its rightful owners, they claimed the horses as plunder taken from the Indians, sold them, and divided the proceeds of sale among themselves—much to the dissatisfaction of those from whom the savages had taken them.[2]

In the course of the ensuing fall, Henry Neal, William Triplett and Daniel Rowell, from Neal's station ascended the Little Kenhawa in canoes to the mouth of the Burning Spring run, from whence they proceeded on a Buffoloe hunt in the adjoining woods. But they had been seen as they plied their canoes up the river, by a party of Indians, who no sooner saw them placed in a situation favoring the bloody purposes of their hearts, than they fired upon them. Neal and Triplett were killed, and fell into the river.—Rowell was missed and escaped by swimming the Kenhawa, the Indians shooting at him as he swam. In a few days after the dead were found in a ripple and buried. The Indians had not been able to draw them from their watery grave, and obtain their scalps.

During this year unsuccessful attempts were made by the general government, to terminate Indian hostilities by negotiation. They were too much elated with their recent success, to think of burying their resentments in a treaty of peace; and so little did they fear the operation of the governmental forces, and such was their confidence in their own strength, that they not only refused to negotiate at all, but put to death two of those who were sent to them as messengers of peace. Major Truman and Col. Hardin, severally sent upon this mission, were murdered by them; and when commissioners to treat with them, were received by them, their only answer was, a positive refusal to enter into a treaty.[3]

When this determination was made known to the President, every precaution which could be used, was taken by him to prevent the recurrence of these enormities which were daily committed on the [305] frontier, and particularly in the new state of Kentucky. Gen. St. Clair, after having asked that a court of enquiry should be held, to consider of his conduct in the campaign of 1791, and finding that his request could not be granted, resigned the command of the army, and was succeeded by Gen. Anthony Wayne. That the operations of the army might not be defeated as heretofore, by a too great reliance on undisciplined militia, it was recommended to Congress to authorize the raising of three additional regiments of regular soldiers; and the bill for complying with this recommendation, notwithstanding it was strenuously opposed by a strong party hostile to the then administration, was finally passed.[4]

The forts Hamilton and Jefferson, erected by Gen. St. Clair, continued to be well garrisoned; but there was some difficulty in supplying them with provisions—the Indians being always in readiness to intercept them on their way. As early as April 1792, they taught us the necessity of having a strong guard to escort supplies with safety, by a successful attack on Major Adair; who with one hundred and twenty volunteers from Kentucky, had charge of a number of pack horses laden with provisions. He was engaged by a body of savages, not much superior in number, and although he was under cover of Fort St. Clair, yet did they drive him into the fort, and carry off the provisions and pack horses. The courage and bold daring of the Indians, was eminently conspicuous on this occasion. They fought with nearly equal numbers, against a body of troops, better tutored in the science of open warfare, well mounted and equipped, armed with every necessary weapon, and almost under the guns of the fort. And they fought successfully,—killing one captain and ten privates, wounding several, and taking property estimated to be worth fifteen thousand dollars. Nothing seemed to abate their ardor for war. Neither the strong garrisons placed in the forts erected so far in advance of the settlements, nor the great preparations which were making for striking an effectual blow at them, caused them for an instant to slacken in hostilities, or check their movements against the frontier.

In the spring of 1793, a party of warriors proceeding towards the head waters of the Monongahela river, discovered a marked way, leading a direction which they did not know to be inhabited by whites. It led to a settlement which had been recently made on Elk river, by Jeremiah and Benjamin Carpenter and a few others from Bath county, and who had been particularly careful to make nor leave any path which might lead to a discovery of their situation, but Adam O'Brien moving into the same section of country in the spring of 1792, and being rather an indifferent woodsman, incautiously blazed the trees in several directions so as to enable him readily to find his home, when business or pleasure should have drawn him from it. It was upon one of these marked traces that the Indians chanced to fall; and pursuing it, came to the deserted cabin of [306] O'Brien: he having returned to the interior, because of his not making a sufficiency of grain for the subsistence of his family. Proceeding from O'Brien's, they came to the House of Benjamin Carpenter, whom they found alone and killed. Mrs. Carpenter being discovered by them, before she was aware of their presence, was tomahawked and scalped, a small distance from the yard.

The burning of Benjamin Carpenter's house, led to a discovery of these outrages; and the remaining inhabitants of that neighborhood, remote from any fort or populous settlement to which they could fly for security, retired to the mountains and remained for several days concealed in a cave. They then caught their horses and moved their families to the West Fork; and when they visited the places of their former habitancy for the purpose of collecting their stock and carrying it off with their other property, scarce a vestige of them was to be seen,—the Indians had been there after they left the cave, and burned the houses, pillaged their movable property, and destroyed the cattle and hogs.

Among the few interesting incidents which occurred in the upper country, during this year, was the captivity and remarkable escape of two brothers, John and Henry Johnson:—the former thirteen, the latter eleven years of age. They lived at a station on the west side of the Ohio river near above Indian Short creek; and being at some distance from the house, engaged in the sportive amusements of youth, became fatigued and seated themselves on an old log for the purpose of resting. They presently observed two men coming towards them, whom they believed to be white men from the station until they approached so close as to leave no prospect of escape by flight, when to their great grief they saw that two Indians were beside them. They were made prisoners, and taken about four miles, when after partaking of some roasted meat and parched corn given them by their captors, they were arranged for the night, by being placed between the two Indians and each encircled in the arms of the one next him.

Henry, the younger of the brothers, had grieved much at the idea of being carried off by the Indians, and during his short but sorrowful journey across the hills, had wept immoderately. John had in vain endeavored to comfort him with the hope that they should be enabled to elude the vigilence of the savages, and to return to the hearth of their parents and brethren. He refused to be comforted.—The ugly red man, with his tomahawk and scalping knife, which had been often called in to quiet the cries of his infancy, was now actually before him; and every scene of torture and of torment which had been depicted, by narration, to his youthful eye, was now present to his terrified imagination, hightened by the thought that they were about to be re-enacted on himself. In anticipation of this horrid doom for some time he wept in bitterness and affliction; but

[307] "The tear down childhood's cheek that flows, Is like the dew drop on the rose;— When next the summer breeze comes by And waves the bush, the flower is dry."—

When the fire was kindled at night, the supper prepared and offered to him, all idea of his future fate was merged in their present kindness; and Henry soon sunk to sleep, though enclosed in horrid hug, by savage arms.

It was different with John. He felt the reality of their situation.—He was alive to the anguish which he knew would agitate the bosom of his mother, and he thought over the means of allaying it so intensely, that sleep was banished from his eyes. Finding the others all locked in deep repose, he disengaged himself from the embrace of the savage at his side, and walked to the fire. To test the soundness of their sleep, he rekindled the dying blaze, and moved freely about it. All remained still and motionless,—no suppressed breathing, betrayed a feigned repose. He gently twitched the sleeping Henry, and whispering softly in his ear, bade him get up. Henry obeyed, and they both stood by the fire. "I think, said John, we had better go home now." "Oh! replied Henry, they will follow and catch us again." "Never fear that, rejoined John, we'll kill them before we go." The idea was for some time opposed by Henry; but when he beheld the savages so soundly asleep, and listened to his brother's plan of executing his wish, he finally consented to act the part prescribed him.

The only gun which the Indians had, was resting against a tree, at the foot of which lay their tomahawks. John placed it on a log, with the muzzle near to the head of one of the savages; cocked it, and leaving Henry with his finger to the trigger, ready to pull upon the signal being given, he repaired to his own station. Holding in his hand one of their tomahawks, he stood astride of the other Indian, and as he raised his arm to deal death to the sleeping savage, Henry fired, and shooting off the lower part of the Indian's jaw, called to his brother, "lay on, for I've done for this one," seized up the gun and ran off. The first blow of the tomahawk took effect on the back of the neck, and was not fatal. The Indian attempted to spring up; but John repeated his strokes with such force and so quickly, that he soon brought him again to the ground; and leaving him dead proceeded on after his brother.

They presently came to a path which they recollected to have travelled, the preceding evening, and keeping along it, arrived at the station awhile before day. The inhabitants were however, all up and in much uneasiness for the fate of the boys; and when they came near and heard a well known voice exclaim in accents of deep distress, "Poor little fellows, they are killed or taken prisoners," John replied aloud,—"No mother, we are here again."

When the tale of their captivity, and the means by which their deliverance was effected, were told, they did not obtain full credence. [308] Piqued at the doubts expressed by some, John observed, "you had better go and see." "But, can you again find the spot," said one. "Yes, replied he, I hung my hat up at the turning out place and can soon shew you the spot." Accompanied by several of the men, John returned to the theatre of his daring exploits; and the truth of his statement received ample confirmation. The savage who had been tomahawked was lying dead by the fire—the other had crawled some distance; but was tracked by his blood until found, when it was agreed to leave him, "as he must die at any rate."

Companies of rangers had been for several seasons stationed on the Ohio river, for the greater security of the persons and property of those who resided on and near the frontier. During this year a company which had been stationed at the mouth of Fishing creek,[5] and had remained there until its term of service had expired, determined then on a scout into the Indian country; and crossing the river, marched on for some days before they saw any thing which indicated their nearness to Indians. Pursuing a path which seemed to be much used, they came in view of an Indian camp, and observing another path, which likewise seemed to be much frequented, Ensign Levi Morgan was sent with a detachment of the men, to see if it would conduct them to where were others of the Indians, who soon returned with the information that he had seen another of their encampments close by. Upon the receipt of this intelligence, the Lieutenant was sent forward with a party of men to attack the second encampment, while the Captain with the residue of the company should proceed against that which had been first discovered, and commence an assault on it, when he should hear the firing of the Lieutenant's party at the camp which he was sent to assail.

When the second camp was approached and the men posted at intervals around it, awaiting the light of day to begin the assault, the Lieutenant discovered that there was a greater force of Indians with whom he would have to contend than was expected, and prudently resolved to withdraw his men without coming into collision with them. Orders for this movement were directly given, and the party immediately retired. There was however, one of the detachment, who had been posted some small distance in advance of the others with directions to fire as soon as the Indians should be seen stirring, and who, unapprized of the withdrawal of the others, [309] maintained his station, until he observed a squaw issuing from a camp, when he fired at her and rushed up, expecting to be supported by his comrades. He fell into the hands of those whom he had thus assailed; but his fate was far different from what he had every reason to suppose it would be, under those circumstances. It was the hunting camp of Isaac Zane, and the female at whom he had shot was the daughter of Zane; the ball had slightly wounded her in the wrist. Her father, although he had been with the Indians ever since his captivity when only nine years of age, had not yet acquired the ferocious and vindictive passions of those with whom he had associated; but practising the forbearance and forgiveness of christian and civilized man, generously conducted the wanton assailant so far upon his way, that he was enabled though alone to reach the settlement in safety. His fate was different from that of those, who had been taken prisoners by that part of the company which remained at the first camp with the Captain. When the Lieutenant with the detachment, rejoined the others, disappointment at the failure of the expedition under him, led some of the men to fall upon the Indian prisoners and inhumanly murder them.

Notwithstanding that preparations for an active campaign against the savages was fast ripening to their perfection, and that the troops of the general government had penetrated as far as to the field, on which had been fought the fatal battle of the fourth of November, 1791, and erected there Fort Recovery,[6] yet did they not cease from their accustomed inroads upon the settlements, even after the winter of 1793.—In March 1794, a party of them crossed the Ohio river, and as they were advancing towards the settlements on the upper branches of the Monongahela, met with Joseph Cox, then on his way to the mouth of Leading creek on Little Kenhawa, for a load of furs and skins which he had left there, at the close of his hunt the preceding fall. Cox very unexpectedly met them in a narrow pass, and instantly wheeled his horse to ride off. Endeavoring to stimulate the horse to greater speed by the application of the whip, the animal became stubborn and refused to go at all, when Cox was forced to dismount and seek safety on foot. His pursuers gained rapidly upon him, and he saw that one of them would soon overtake him. He faced the savage who was near, and raised his gun to fire; but nothing daunted, the Indian rushed forward. Cox's gun [310] missed fire, and he was instantly a prisoner. He was taken to their towns and detained in captivity for some time; but at length made his escape, and returned safely to the settlement.

On the 24th of July, six Indians visited the West Fork river, and at the mouth of Freeman's creek, met with, and made prisoner, a daughter of John Runyan. She was taken off by two of the party of savages, but did not go more than ten or twelve miles, before she was put to death. The four Indians who remained, proceeded down the river and on the next day came to the house of William Carder, near below the mouth of Hacker's creek. Mr. Carder discovered them approaching, in time to fasten his door; but in the confusion of the minute, shut out two of his children, who however ran off unperceived by the savages and arrived in safety at the house of a neighbor. He then commenced firing and hallooing, so as to alarm those who were near and intimidate the Indians. Both objects were accomplished. The Indians contented themselves with shooting at the cattle, and then retreated; and Mr. Joseph Chevront, who lived hardby, hearing the report of the guns and the loud cries of Carder, sent his own family to a place of safety, and with nobleness of purpose, ran to the relief of his neighbor. He enabled Carder to remove his family to a place of greater security, although the enemy were yet near, and engaged in skinning one of the cattle that they might take with them a supply of meat. On the next day a company of men assembled, and went in pursuit; but they could not trail the savages far, because of the great caution with which they had retreated, and returned without accomplishing any thing.

Two days afterward, when it was believed that the Indians had left the neighborhood, they came on Hacker's creek near to the farm of Jacob Cozad, and finding four of his sons bathing, took three of them prisoners, and killed the fourth, by repeatedly stabbing him with a bayonet attached to a staff. The boys, of whom they made prisoners, were immediately taken to the Indian towns and kept in captivity until the treaty of Greenville in 1795. Two of them were then delivered up to their father, who attended to enquire for them,—the third was not heard of for some time after, but was at length found at Sandusky, by his elder brother and brought home.

After the victory obtained by General Wayne over the Indians, [311] Jacob Cozad, Jr. was doomed to be burned to death, in revenge of the loss then sustained by the savages. Every preparation for carrying into execution this dreadful determination was quickly made. The wood was piled, the intended victim was apprized of his approaching fate, and before the flaming torch was applied to the faggots, he was told to take leave of those who were assembled to witness the awful spectacle. The crowd was great, and the unhappy youth could with difficulty press his way through them. Amid the jeers and taunts of those whom he would address, he was proceeding to discharge the last sad act of his life, when a female, whose countenance beamed with benignity, beckoned him to follow her. He did not hesitate. He approached as if to bid her farewell, and she succeeded in taking him off unobserved by the many eyes gazing around, and concealed him in a wigwam among some trunks and covered loosely with a blanket. He was presently missed, and a search immediately made for him. Many passed near in quest of the devoted victim, and he could hear their steps and note their disappointment. After awhile the uproar ceased, and he felt more confident of security. In a few minutes more he heard approaching footsteps and felt that the blanket was removed from him. He turned to surrender himself to his pursuers, and meet a dreadful death.—But no! they were two of his master's sons who had been directed where to find him, and they conducted him securely to the Old Delaware town, where he remained until carried to camp upon the conclusion of a treaty of peace.[7]

In a short time after the happening of the events at Cozad's, a party of Indians made an irruption upon Tygart's Valley. For some time the inhabitants of that settlement had enjoyed a most fortunate exemption from savage molestation; and although they had somewhat relaxed in vigilance, they did not however omit to pursue a course calculated to ensure a continuance of their tranquillity and repose. Instead of flying for security, as they had formerly, to the neighboring forts upon the return of spring, the increase of population and the increased capacity of the communion to repel aggression, caused them to neglect other acts of precaution, and only to assemble at particular houses, when danger was believed to be instant and at hand. In consequence of the reports which reached them of the injuries lately committed by the [312] savages upon the West Fork, several families collected at the house of Mr. Joseph Canaan for mutual security, and while thus assembled, were visited by a party of Indians, when perfectly unprepared for resistance. The savages entered the house awhile after dark, and approaching the bed on which Mr. Canaan was lolling, one of them addressed him with the familiarity of an old acquaintance and saying "how d'ye do, how d'ye do," presented his hand. Mr. Canaan was rising to reciprocate the greeting, when he was pierced by a ball discharged at him from another savage, and fell dead. The report of the gun at once told, who were the visitors, and put them upon using immediate exertions to effect their safety by flight. A young man who was near when Canaan was shot, aimed at the murderer a blow with a drawing knife, which took effect on the head of the savage and brought him to the ground. Ralston then escaped through the door, and fled in safety, although fired at as he fled.

When the Indians entered the house, there was a Mrs. Ward sitting in the room. So soon as she observed that the intruders were savages, she passed into another apartment with two of the children, and going out with them through a window, got safely away. Mr. Lewis (brother to Mrs. Canaan) likewise escaped from a back room, in which he had been asleep at the firing of the gun. Three children were tomahawked and scalped,—Mrs. Canaan made prisoner, and the savages withdrew. The severe wound inflicted on the head of the Indian by Ralston, made it necessary that they should delay their return to their towns, until his recovery; and they accordingly remained near the head of the middle fork of Buchannon, for several weeks. Their extreme caution in travelling, rendered any attempt to discover them unavailing; and when their companion was restored they proceeded on, uninterruptedly. On the close of the war, Mrs. Canaan was redeemed from captivity by a brother from Brunswick, in New Jersey, and restored to her surviving friends.

Thus far in the year 1794, the army of the United States had not been organised for efficient operations. Gen. Wayne had been actively employed in the discharge of every preparatory duty devolving on him; and those distinguishing characteristics of uncommon daring and bravery, which had acquired for him the appellation of "Mad Anthony," and which [313] so eminently fitted him for the command of an army warring against savages, gave promise of success to his arms.

Before the troops marched from Fort Washington, it was deemed advisable to have an abundant supply of provisions in the different forts in advance of this, as well for the supply of their respective garrisons, as for the subsistence of the general army, in the event of its being driven into them, by untoward circumstances. With this view, three hundred pack-horses, laden with flour, were sent on to Fort Recovery; and, as it was known that considerable bodies of the enemy were constantly hovering about the forts, and awaiting opportunities of cutting off any detachments from the main army, Major McMahon, with eighty riflemen under Capt. Hartshorn, and fifty dragoons, under Capt. Taylor, was ordered on as an escort. This force was too great to justify the savages in making an attack, until they could unite the many war parties which were near;.and before this could be effected, Major McMahon reached his destination.

On the 30th of July,[8] as the escort was about leaving Fort Recovery, it was attacked by an army of one thousand Indians, in the immediate vicinity of the fort. Captain Hartshorn had advanced only three or four hundred yards, at the head of the riflemen, when he was unexpectedly beset on every side. With the most consummate bravery and good conduct, he maintained the unequal conflict, until Major McMahon, placing himself at the head of the cavalry, charged upon the enemy, and was repulsed with considerable loss. Maj. McMahon, Capt. Taylor and Cornet Terry fell upon the first onset, and many of the privates were killed or wounded. The whole savage force being now brought to press on Capt. Hartshorn, that brave officer was forced to try and regain the Fort, but the enemy interposed its strength, to prevent this movement. Lieutenant Drake and Ensign Dodd, with twenty volunteers, marched from Fort Recovery and forcing a passage through a column of the enemy at the point of the bayonet, joined the rifle corps, at the instant that Capt. Hartshorn received a shot which broke his thigh. Lieut. Craig being killed and Lieut. Marks taken prisoner, Lieut. Drake conducted the retreat; and while endeavoring for an instant to hold the enemy in check, so as to enable the soldiers to bring off their wounded captain, himself received a shot in the groin, and the retreat was resumed, leaving Capt. Hartshorn on the field.

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